Kokomo council thanks volunteers for service after tornado as cleanup continues

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KOKOMO, Ind. - Monday night, Kokomo’s Common Council held their first meeting since an EF-3 tornado left a path of damage in the city last week.

More than 1,000 structures were affected by that storm.

Council members thanked volunteers who spent time in the area this weekend cleaning up.

“Our items that we lost can be replaced, and we’ll be back because Kokomo’s strong,” said Mike Kennedy, Kokomo councilmember.

The tone was largely grateful as council members took a few moments Monday evening to share their feelings after the storm’s aftermath, gratitude, especially, that nobody was seriously injured and that hundreds of volunteers have given their time and energy to lend a hand.

“Pretty nice to see people step up and help others that need help,” said Mike Wyant, Kokomo Council Member.

Residents in hard-hit neighborhoods are deciding what, if anything, they can salvage.

The tornado largely damaged homes and apartments in Kokomo, but businesses and other organizations weren’t totally spared.

The Starbucks at Markland Mall, leveled by the winds, is now cornered off for formal demolition. The company said Monday evening they had no information to release regarding demolition or construction on the site.

A building housing early childhood programs for Bona Vista Programs sustained at least $200,000 in roof damage from flying debris.

Two hundred infants and toddlers, along with 70 staff members, were inside as the twister came dangerously close.

“We are very thankful,” said Jill Dunn, CEO & President, Bona Vista Programs, “As we saw the tornado hit the ground, it was coming toward us. We ran down the hall. We said, hit the floors.”

At the Kokomo Country Club, the storm toppled nearly one hundred trees. Crews there are working to clear them, readying the golf course for upcoming events.

“Some of the trees, you know, were hundreds and hundreds of years old,” said Tony Totla, with Kokomo County Club, “The look obviously when you’re talking to a bride, the views change for the pictures and things like that. We’ll talk to them and see if they’re happy with the place. We’ll make it work out for them.”

Mayor Greg Goodnight took to Twitter Monday with a thank you for city crews from Danville in town to help clear debris. Crews from Columbus are supposed to assist in Kokomo on Tuesday.